Does your CRE property need a LEED certification & what are its benefits

Author Ivan Smiljanic Read bio
Tags: green building leed certification sustainability
Date: October 30, 2020

Sustainability has been growing in popularity for quite some time. Not only is it mainstream, but it is also crucial for the wellbeing of our planet and humankind. 

A green building is, as the U.S. Green building Council defines it: “Green building is a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment, as well as the people who inhabit buildings every day. Green building is an effort to amplify the positive and mitigate the negative of these effects throughout the entire life cycle of a building.” (source)

In an attempt to increase the green building initiative, many CRE properties are choosing to get LEED certification. 

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED for real estate is the most common and recognizable building rating system. Almost any building, home or community can implement some LEED standards. To gain LEED for real estate, you must go through four steps:

  1. Register a project by completing required forms and submitting payment.
  2. Apply for LEED certification by submitting a completed certification application and paying a review fee of the certification.
  3. Review. The Green Business Certification Inc. reviews your LEED application.
  4. Certify. Receive the certification decision from GBCI. If you’ve earned it: congratulations – you are now LEED certified!

Benefits of being LEED certified

The benefits of being a LEED-certified commercial real estate building are more than just good for the environment.

It is also good for your company. No matter if you’re looking to decrease occupancy cost or the building’s environmental impact, striving to get certified by the U.S. Green building Council is a good choice to make. Here are several reasons why:

Increased health and productivity

An average employee spends their waking hours working, more than doing anything else. Their work environment has a direct impact on their health. Commercial real estate property, with LEED certification, is healthier and more enjoyable to work in, and by that being said – can boost productivity levels and health ratings.

Green buildings use natural light instead of artificial light, and it’s been proven that natural light can decrease stress in the workplace while making it easier to work and see. LEED-certified buildings usually have better indoor air quality and circulation, due to ventilation systems and the use of eco-friendly materials. This directly impacts building health and reduces the risk of diseases migrating easily between employees, which is especially important nowadays.

Greenery inside of a building

Benefits of leed certification include improved public perception

When you choose a LEED-certified building, it automatically sends a message that your company cares and is committed to the environment. 

A study from Stanford, dated back to 2008, has shown that about 67% of consumers think that businesses should be proactive in protecting the environment. This statistic has likely increased since then, due to the millennial generation being very aware of environmental issues.

Keeping this in mind, having office space in a LEED-certified building can also be a marketing move, as well as a smart operational decision

Decrease of operating cost 

When a building is green it saves energy and reduces waste. In a situation when you’re paying for your own utilities and repairs via a triple net lease, the cost of operating a building can be very close to renting, in certain markets. 

Decreasing electric consumption with the use of natural light, and using high-efficiency HVAC equipment to reduce wintertime gas consumption ultimately means less bill amount there will be to pay.

Benefits of leed certification and LEED certified CRE buildings are usually constructed with long-lasting components to reduce the overall contribution to the waste stream.

Are there negative sides of LEED certification?

Even though there are many benefits of being LEED-certified, we have to consider that the application process might come with difficulties. Becoming LEED certified is time-consuming as well as pricey. Before you apply for and pay for the application, consider all the pros and cons of LEED and really think about whether it is worth it for you.

And to answer the most important question here: Does your CRE property need a LEED certification – there is no answer. Only you can decide. LEED for real estate certification is your choice but in the process of deciding it’s good to consult with building managers, any parties involved in the safety and upkeep of the commercial real estate property. 

We can only give you an insight into the advantages of leed certification, so you can weigh in the benefits and whether you think it is the right decision. Keep in mind that LEED certification can help you attract new tenants, decrease operation costs and increase productivity and efficiency in the building itself.